Kayak Fishing Anchors – Do You Really Need One?


Kayak Fishing Guide - Informative tips, articles and product reviews for the kayak angler.

Being blown around by the wind or breeze when sitting in a kayak while trying to fish a rock point, brush pile, or submerged hump can be very frustrating! But is a kayak anchor your only solution?

Kayak anchors are a common way of securing your kayak but are not always needed when fishing. Kayak anchor systems are a good choice when fishing deeper waters. Drift socks can be used in deep water too. Better options to anchor your kayak in shallow waters include stakeout poles or brush grippers.

Many people believe an anchor is the only option for holding your kayak in place! But as you can see above, it isn’t the only option you have!

So read on and let’s dive into this a little deeper!

How Do You Anchor a Kayak?

Whether you’re just beginning your kayak fishing adventures or a seasoned pro, you are going to want to anchor or secure your kayak at some point.

Kayaks can be anchored in numerous ways:

  • You can use a grapple or mushroom anchor.
  • Many companies make stakeout poles, or you can DIY one for yourself.
  • Brush grippers are often used on rivers and small lakes.
  • Power poles, although expensive, are gaining in popularity too!
  • In the ocean and deep lakes, drift socks are often your best choice.

People have anchored kayaks in many ways. I have even seen anchors made from plastic milk jugs and coffee cans filled with cement! Every once in a while, you’ll see someone drop over a cinder block with a rope attached!

You can see a wide variety of options available for securing your kayak on Amazon.

Which Kayak Anchoring System for You

Your choice of anchoring systems will mainly depend upon where and what you are fishing for most of the time! Not all anchoring systems are created equal!

Let’s do a quick review of the different ways to secure or control your kayak!

Anchor Trolley System

An anchor trolley system includes an anchor, two or more cleats, anchor float, and necessary hardware to allow you to move the anchor back and forth from bow to stern. This system allows you to change your anchor point and keep your kayak positioned in one spot safely in winds or currents.

The trolley is positioned along the kayak’s length and can maneuver the anchor ring next to your seat for easy release. More advanced kayak fishermen will use a trolley system on both sides of their kayaks!

Looking for an economical and popular starter anchor kit for your kayak? Check out the Vibe 3lb grapnel anchor kit from Amazon. The kit also includes 30′ of anchor line and a trolley system!

If you would like to know more about anchor trolleys, give my other article How Does a Kayak Anchor Trolley Work? a quick look!

Drift Socks

Drift socks are placed into the water and drag along behind you while the wind pushes your kayak across the water. They significantly slow down your drift rate!

Drift socks are best when casting along a shoreline or out on the ocean, in a strong breeze. If the wind moves you too fast to efficiently fish the structure, a drift sock will slow you down!

The MOOCY 24″ Drift Sock on Amazon comes with everything you need and is an inexpensive way to keep one on your yak when needed!

Stakeout Poles

A kayak stakeout pole is designed for shallow waters. It is a long stick and much easier and quicker to use than a traditional anchor. The stakeout pole can be placed through an anchor trolley ring or a scupper hole and anchored into the lake’s bottom.

Another method in using a stakeout pole is to place it into the lake or river bottom and use a small length of rope to tie off from it.

The YakGear YakStick is a 6′ floating stick used by many kayakers. Check out the pricing on Amazon if something like this fits your bill!

Another option is to build a Do It Yourself stakeout pole! Quite a few yakkers like to build their own kayak projects when they are not on the water!

Whichever way you go, buy or DIY, a stakeout pole can come in handy! Warding off a snake swimming your way with a stakeout pole is a lot cheaper than damaging a $400 carbon kayak paddle!

Brush Grippers

Brush Grippers are about the simplest way to secure your kayak to a dock, brush pile, or just about any stationary object. They can be used in both deep or shallow water!

Just tie the rope off to a cleat on your kayak and attach the brush gripper! You can let out as much line as you want or tie off as short as you like. Brush Grippers from Amazon are one of the most inexpensive ways to hold your yak in one spot!

Power Pole

The state of the art anchoring system is the Power Pole Micro Anchor! If you’re primarily fishing on streams and small rivers than this may be the thing for you!

With the Power Pole, you can be silently drifting downstream and, at a moment’s notice, hit the button on the control fob and lower the pole remotely with the touch of a finger!

The unit can be hooked into an existing onboard battery system and mounted at the kayak stern. If you don’t have a battery in your kayak, a separate battery and charger can be purchased as well.

Related Article: How to Outfit a Kayak for Fishing: The Ultimate Guide

So, You Really Don’t Need an Anchor!

With all the options out there and the many different kayak fishing methods, along with so many fishing environments, you really don’t need to have an anchor!

When you have an anchor, a bunch of rope, possibly a float, you need storage space for all of it. You may also have rope becoming entangled in your yak or wrapping around your feet!

If you go with an anchor for your kayak, make sure you have the proper amount of line. How Long Should a Kayak Anchor Line Be is definitely a must-read for you!

Now you, and most people, certainly go with anchors, so let’s take a quick look at anchors and hopefully answer any questions you may have!

How Heavy of an Anchor Do I Need?

On average, a kayak anchor is no lighter than 1lb and generally never heavier than 5lbs. Folding anchors can be lighter since the anchor has more holding power. Mushroom anchors are typically heavier since they have less holding power than their counterparts.

Larger, heavier anchors can cause damage to the lake, river, or ocean bottom. So keep this in mind when choosing an anchor.

Where Do You Put the Anchor on a Kayak?

You’ll want the anchor to be within easy reach of your seat to deploy it with the least amount of risk to you and your kayak if at all possible. You’ll find either alongside or just behind your kayak’s seat, if a sit-on-top yak, are the best places.

When fishing from a sit-in kayak, your options are minimal. You’ll have to place the anchor up in the front of you and try to keep your feet from becoming entangled.

When throwing the anchor out, and tying it off on a cleat, keep in mind the stability of your kayak! It’s easy to tip over and capsize, leaning to the side of your yak. How Stable Is a Fishing Kayak? is a top article on Kayak Fishing Guide regarding kayak stability.

Is an Anchor Trolley Necessary?

No, an anchor trolley isn’t necessary, but it does make handling an anchor way easier!

You have more anchor adjustability from your sitting position, the options of moving your anchor points to the bow or stern of your kayak, and the ease of deploying or cutting off from your anchor at will.

To learn more about anchor trolleys and if it might be something you’d like, click over to my article, How Does a Kayak Anchor Trolley Work?

I would certainly recommend a kayak anchor trolley system for your fishing kayak. I run a trolley system with a 3lb anchor on my kayak and use the stakeout pole when applicable.

But whichever way you choose to go, or use more than one option, a kayak anchor isn’t always needed with all the options you have to choose from!

Have fun and stay safe out there!

Mike Rodman

Mike enjoys fishing all year round, from fly fishing small streams in Wyoming's higher mountains to kayak fishing the lower altitude lakes and reservoirs. Mike also has a passion for ice fishing and is a member of Clam Outdoors Pro Staff. When he has spare time, he'll be found building custom fishing rods.

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